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HR Hero Line: Legal information and tips for HR pros
Updated: 28 min 50 sec ago

Cybercrime not just tech department’s problem; HR also has role to play

11 hours 26 min ago
With headlines about data breaches, ransomware, viruses, and other cyberthreats becoming routine, it seems no one is immune, especially now with the rise of the “internet of things”—all those devices capable of accessing the internet and collecting and exchanging data. Today’s malicious hackers have no shortage of opportunities to wreak...
Categories: Blogs

Why your company needs an antibullying policy

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 06:00
by Joe Godwin Bullying in the workplace is a common occurrence that’s often ignored or overlooked by management. Sometimes it may be ignored because, unlike sexual harassment, there’s usually no legal requirement that an organization have an antibullying policy. It also may be overlooked because leaders take a hands-off approach,...
Categories: Blogs

What should you do when employees are addicted to prescription drugs?

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 06:00
by Jonathan R. Mook Addiction to prescription drugs, especially opioids, has become a crisis in this country. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about the mounting number of shattered lives and tragic deaths attributed to this growing epidemic. Employers are feeling the brunt of the crisis as employees are increasingly becoming addicted...
Categories: Blogs

Employers need to make preparations as DACA sunset nears

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 06:00
President Donald Trump’s announcement of an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has prompted uncertainty not only for those benefiting from the program but also for their employers.  The program has benefitted an estimated 800,000 young people, known as Dreamers—undocumented immigrants brought to the United States...
Categories: Blogs

Need to boost productivity? Go to war against workplace distractions

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 06:00
Ever stop to consider just what your employees do all day? If they’re like a lot of today’s workers, they’re fitting in their core work around a host of distractions and interruptions.  A Harvard Business Review report from March 7, 2016, cites a study showing that the average worker checks email 74 times a day. Add instant messages, phone...
Categories: Blogs

Trump administration pumps the brakes on new OSHA rules

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 06:00
by Eric J. Conn President Donald Trump was carried into the White House on promises (or threats) of rolling back government regulations. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year, his now former senior policy adviser, Steve Bannon, framed the president’s agenda in terms of “deconstruction of the administrative...
Categories: Blogs

Employers can play vital role when natural disaster strikes

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 06:00
When natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey strike, work may not be the first thought for those hurt and those wanting to help, but it’s not far down the list of concerns. Getting back to work is an important part of getting back to normal for many storm victims. And those not in the path of destruction often want to join their coworkers and...
Categories: Blogs

New I-9 does not change sticky compliance issues

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 06:00
by Lori Chesser and Elizabeth Van Arkel On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated I-9 employment eligibility verification form to replace all prior versions. The new I-9 must be used by all employers starting September 18, 2017. The new version contains relatively minor technical corrections. ...
Categories: Blogs

Reeling from recordkeeping? Sound strategy makes the task manageable

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 06:00
A seemingly vast array of laws requires employers to create and store an equally vast array of records, and keeping up with the task is enough to make anyone’s head spin. The chore is less daunting, though, with some advice and a plan. Ryan A. Olson, an attorney with the Felhaber Larson law firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, advises employers that...
Categories: Blogs

Gambling on independent contractor status? Stack the deck in your favor

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 06:00
by Gary S. Fealk Smart businesspeople are adept at finding ways to reduce their costs. However, cutting costs associated with employment by using independent contractors is a big risk unless you take great care to make sure you aren’t misclassifying employees as independent contractors.  What’s all the fuss about? Various...
Categories: Blogs

Writing effective workplace investigation reports

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 06:00
by Karen McAndrew When a lawsuit alleging discrimination, harassment, or retaliation arrives at your door, will you be prepared to defend it?  Why documentation is important We all hope, of course, that our workplace culture prevents employees from experiencing unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation; that we have good, solid...
Categories: Blogs

Alt-right protests: Protected off-duty activity or cause for termination?

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 06:00
It’s an employer’s nightmare. An employee shows up in a video making the rounds on social media taking part in a protest that includes violent clashes and racist insults. The employer wants no association with such actions and decides to cut ties. Will there be legal trouble if the employee is fired? Possibly, according to attorneys...
Categories: Blogs

Solar eclipse presents opportunities for fun at work, but be careful

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 06:00
Much of the country will go dark in the middle of the day on August 21 during the solar eclipse, but employers shouldn’t be in the dark about the opportunities – and a few risks – the event presents. Although all of the United States will experience at least a partial eclipse, not all will be in the path of totality. But that path includes a...
Categories: Blogs

DOL issues directive on visa program fraud and abuse

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 06:00
by Elaine C. Young We recently fielded a call from a client’s in-house employment counsel, who noted that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seems to be rolling back employee protections, making her job a little easier. But then she observed that isn’t the case with immigration. The DOL is scaling back protections, except with...
Categories: Blogs

Prevent discrimination against immigrant workers with sound I-9 practices

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 06:08
No employer wants to be the target of federal regulators on the hunt for workers not authorized to hold jobs in the United States. And no employer wants to be vulnerable to a national origin discrimination lawsuit. But both potential problems can be the result if an employer handles the employment verification process poorly.  Recent raids by...
Categories: Blogs

FMLA leave for school-related activities and child care

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 06:05
by Elizabeth B. Bradley It’s that time of year—summer vacations are wrapping up, and your employees’ children and grandchildren are heading back to school. Now is a good time for a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) refresher, with a focus on the requirements for leave related to school activities and child care, for which...
Categories: Blogs

Promoting from within? Take care to ease transition for new supervisors

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 06:00
It may seem a no-brainer for an employer looking to fill a supervisory position to offer the job to one of the nonsupervisory stars in the organization. Promoting from within can be a smart choice for many reasons, but the transition from underling to supervisor also can be problematic if management doesn’t take steps to ward off trouble before...
Categories: Blogs

Trump v. Sessions: Constructive discharge? ‘We’ll see what happens’

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 17:44
by Michele L. (Warnock) Brott Not long ago, I wrote a rather lofty theoretical analysis about the notion of “constructive discharge,” or the legally frowned-upon practice of forcing employees to quit instead of firing them. I never expected a real-life threat of constructive discharge to erupt on the national stage. But, voilà! The very public...
Categories: Blogs

Muppets, Lannisters, and wrongful termination—which one isn’t like the others?

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 10:02
by Mark I. Schickman Kermit the Frog has been fired! From his birth in 1955 until 1990, Kermit was performed by his creator, Jim Henson. Since 1990, veteran Muppet performer Steve Whitmire donned the green felt. During Whitmire’s tenure, Kermit appeared in over 20 movies, got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was grand marshal of the...
Categories: Blogs

PTO for charity work: You give a little, they take a lot?

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 06:00
by Susan Hartmus Hiser Q Our company’s production work generally gets slow in the summer, and the company’s owner is a longtime proponent of charity work. Rather than giving employees extra vacation time in the summer or even laying them off, he would like to start offering a week of paid time off (PTO) to allow employees to do some...
Categories: Blogs